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Jaws (1975)

tomatometer

98

Average Rating: 9/10
Reviews Counted: 63
Fresh: 62 | Rotten: 1

Compelling, well-crafted storytelling and a judicious sense of terror ensure Steven Spielberg's Jaws has remained a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills.

92

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 1

Compelling, well-crafted storytelling and a judicious sense of terror ensure Steven Spielberg's Jaws has remained a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills.

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 934,352

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on Peter Benchley's best-selling novel, Steven Spielberg's 1975 shark saga set the standard for the New Hollywood popcorn blockbuster while frightening millions of moviegoers out of the water. One early summer night on fictional Atlantic resort Amity Island, Chrissie decides to take a moonlight skinny dip while her friends party on the beach. Yanked suddenly below the ocean surface, she never returns. When pieces of her wash ashore, Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) suspects the worst, but

Jul 11, 2000

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All Critics (63) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (1) | DVD (65)

It may be the most cheerfully perverse scare movie ever made. Even while you're convulsed with laughter you're still apprehensive, because the editing rhythms are very tricky, and the shock images loom up huge, right on top of you.

July 29, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is a fast-paced, straight-line thriller that moves without pause toward the climactic contest at sea between three men and a 25-foot, 3-ton great while killer shark.

July 29, 2013
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is a coarse-grained and exploitive work which depends on excess for its impact. Ashore it is a bore, awkwardly staged and lumpily written.

July 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What this movie is about, and where it succeeds best, is the primordial level of fear.

July 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A near Hitchcockian exercise in transference of guilt and making the audience pay for its illicit pleasures.

July 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Spielberg may be the man who created the new Hollywood, but in his first megahit he summed up what was best in the old -- the humor, the perversity, and the storytelling integrity of Alfred Hitchcock.

July 29, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Enjoyment derived from tension and fear, interspersed with brief breathers to allow nerve-relieving chuckles and smiles.

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Quite simply, Jaws is a masterclass in blockbuster entertainment -- a tense, exciting thriller that redefined contemporary cinema. They don't make them like this anymore.

July 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

John Williams's Oscar-winning music and the excellent performances of Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss add to the ingeniously mounted tension that cleverly plays on all our deepest primeval fears.

July 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Jaws remains, decades later, a near perfect film.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Twitch
Twitch

Basically, Jaws is an excellent routine movie, the sort normally made on a moderate budget and aimed at the neighborhood houses.

October 9, 2012 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

Spielberg knows exactly how the human mind works, and he uses that knowledge to plumb the elemental fear buried deep within.

August 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

...the movie's justifiably legendary opening [paves] the way for an engrossing first act that's heightened by both Scheider's magnetic performance and the inclusion of several unbearably tense interludes.

August 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comment (1)
Reel Film Reviews

Spielberg fashioned an instant classic whose success owes as much to his superb orchestration as to the substantial jolts and knockout performances by Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss.

August 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Before we see anything, our ears are chilled by composer John Williams' menacing two note soundtrack which then builds into that unforgettable frenzy as the unseen shark savages its first victim.

June 21, 2012 Full Review Source: UTV

Jaws retains its power to enthrall and shock at the same time.

June 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

You think of the excess that followed in Jaws' wake and realise how well judged that first blockbuster is.

June 19, 2012 Full Review Source: The Ooh Tray
The Ooh Tray

It remains an influence on the modern blockbuster, and is one of its best examples.

June 14, 2012 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

This is a suspense classic that leaves teeth-marks.

June 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Audience Reviews for Jaws

Steven Spielberg's classic monster movie is a supremely accomplished slice of popular entertainment and one of my enduring favourites. His directorial expertise shines as he perfectly manipulates the mood of the film aided by John Williams' frankly perfect score. He contrasts the ferocious attacks with their broiling red stained surf and hysterical screaming with the serene peacefulness of the lapping moonlit waves from the very first scene, and uses misdirection and comic asides to engineer a tangible sense of tension as you wait for the shark to appear. Of course, the clunkily mechanical beast that completely fails to recreate the grace of the real animals is easy to criticise, but for the most part Jaws' presence is hinted at through a clever combination of first person camera work, reappearing barrels and Williams' music intercut with real shark footage and it works brilliantly. The characters are also fantastic, particularly during the bonding scene when Quint intensely recounts his experience of the USS Indianapolis, and there are so many wonderfully quotable lines I could probably recite the entire film from beginning to end. Another of the few films that I could never tire of seeing.
April 16, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

The classic thriller never gets old, handled superbly well in the open waters by Spielberg and carried with charisma by its lead actors. 'Jaws' will never fail to entertain, and still stands as one of the greatest thrillers of all time.
April 9, 2013
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

"Jaws" is considered one of the greatest movies of all time. Number 56 on AFI's top 100, number 2 on their list of Top Thrills, and a few years ago Bravo ran a Top 100 Scary movies of All Time with "Jaws" as number 1. Hell, can you even get in a pool without doing the music when you sneak up on someone? This is a very iconic movie that's perfect as a good Halloween time flick for a few jumps. The movie is about a great white shark that terrorizes a small Ocean side town. Three guys then set out to kill the shark. Chief Brody(Roy Scheider), Hooper(Richard Dreyfuss), and local fisherman Quint(Robert Shaw) lead the way and are all three fantastic characters lead by great performances. This is Spielberg first true Blockbuster(and considered Hollywood's first Summer Blockbuster), and really sets the stage for the great work he would continue to make for the next 30+ years. I recently bought this on Blu Ray as it was completely remastered and restored and had read how this is the absolute best this has ever look. It looks fantastic and like it was made last week, not 37 years ago. Holds up amazingly well, and a movie that should be passed on generation to generation. Can't wait for Grant to be old enough to enjoy this with me and scare him every time we go swimming.
October 28, 2012
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

Jaws has made its way onto Blu-ray, which naturally prompted a re-visit to this unparalleled classic. The question is, does it still hold up nearly four decades after its release? And is it worth scrapping your DVD for this supposedly "new and improved" edition?

Well, let me start off by saying that it looks absolutely fantastic! Not that it didn't impress before, but the millions of dollars they've put into the restoration job really shows throughout, as the picture quality is phenomenally crisp and about as clean as a bottle of moonshine in Captain's Quint's private stash (that is to say, after he's downed it). Heck, it even looks better than most modern features I've ever bought for my collection. Grand improvements have also been made for the sound and music department - rendering its famous two-noted theme more haunting than ever.

Regardless of said polishments, however, it still beautifully stands the test of time. Already back in 1975, Spielberg was a visionary genius; conjuring up a level of magic that would forever put his name on the Hollywood map. For it is indeed a masterpiece that is yet to find its equal. And it's strange, because with all the CGI and advanced technology available at our disposal, you'd think the feat would be easily repeatable. But if there's anything Jaws gives testament to, it's that meticulously designed animatronics, in the hands of a skillful director, sweeps the floor with the digital alternative any day of the week.

Now, I've talked a lot about the technical bits here, but what truly cements this film into my movie-loving heart, is the spellbinding performances of its stunningly gifted cast. My particular favourite among which is Robert Shaw as Quint - a gruff, no-nonsense legend of a man, whose weathered expertise of the sea and its more fouler inhabitants, has you all ears for his story, which seem as real as to transcend beyond the very fabric of the film.

Besides the exquisitely portraited characters, there's, of course, the big bad monster himself. A great leviathan of the deep, that throughout the journey of the film, chills our blood into ice with the mere hint of its presence. And that is where we find yet another savvy accomplisment. For it is not what is displayed, but what is suggested that scares. That great dark chamber in our heads, that is left for our imagination to nervously fill in. A simple bit of psychology, that too often is lost in today's visually consumed world.

Tapping into our most primal fears, Jaws had such an incredible impact when it first hit the theatres, that it for a long time scared people away from setting foot near the ocean. Even in my own case, I can't approach a beach, without the image taking shape of those dark, soulless eyes scouting me out through the water. It's just one of the many things that makes it more than just an entertainment piece. Because this is the horror movie that all other horror movies desires to be, but seldom even come close to.

Now if only I had the money to build a home theatre worthy of its grandeur. Not that my 44" flat-screen TV isn't more than enough, but I can't help but wonder what it would be like - to experience the power of Spielberg's behemoth on a bigger screen and with some more proper surround sound. A tantalizing fantasy, no doubt, worth setting a goal for.

Or as Martin Brody might have said it: "I think I'm gonna need a bigger wallet".
September 4, 2012
CloudStrife84
Mike S

Super Reviewer

    1. Chief Martin Brody: Smile, you son of a bitch.
    – Submitted by Jesse H (7 days ago)
    1. Quint: Back home we get a taxidermy man, he's gonna have a heart attack when he sees what I brung him!
    – Submitted by Michael S (40 days ago)
    1. Quint: Hooper drives the boat Chief.
    – Submitted by sean b (4 months ago)
    1. Quint: Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain. For we've received orders for to sail back to Boston. And so never more shall we see you again.
    – Submitted by Adam O (10 months ago)
    1. Matt Hooper: I don't have to take this abuse much longer!
    – Submitted by Adam O (10 months ago)
    1. Quint: Well it proves one thing, Mr. Hooper. It proves that you wealthy college boys don't have the education enough to admit when you're wrong.
    – Submitted by Adam O (10 months ago)
View all quotes (68)

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